A Way To Determine And Evaluate The Value Of Information
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Knowledge is defined as information that can be obtained from a person or can be applied to an idea through experience. Quality is how we value an idea in terms of accuracy. The prescribed title provides a claim to discuss whether this claim is true. The claim “quality of knowledge” is determined by “how many people accept it”. After putting the key terms together, the assumption of this could be interpreted into: a higher acceptance of people indicates a higher quality of accuracy. This leads to the knowledge question, to what extent does the quantity of acceptance determine accuracy through faith and reason? I will discuss the claim in the order of: a claim in Human Science, its counterclaim, a claim in Natural Science, its counterclaim, and finally a conclusion.
According to the discipline of history within the area of knowledge of Human Science, the real-life situation of Mao’s propaganda may justify that the quality of knowledge is not necessarily proven by the high acceptance of people. During the period of the Cultural Revolution, many Chinese citizens pursued the knowledge of the propaganda posters posted by the government. People kept their faith in Mao and interpreted him as a heartwarming leader and were convinced that Mao was ‘always right’ in any aspect including personality and his knowledge of economics. However, according to victims after several years of the Cultural Revolution, they said that Mao was merciless and a lot of his action was not ethical, such as turning the citizens to become “informer against one another”, which found out that there was a mismatch between him in reality and him in propaganda (Lee).
This real-life situation demonstrates that faith does not always indicate the truth. Faith could be the least reliable ways of knowing (WOK) to support an idea or knowledge in an objective way because its conclusion could be highly and dominantly developed from personal experiences, since it is a belief that does not require any evidence or proof. However, Mao’s circumstance demonstrates that faith can be the most powerful tool to have people believe in something regardless of its accuracy. Mao’s personal power was a major influence to have citizens obey and respect him. He also influenced citizens’ faith through various WOKs such as emotion, sense perception, and language, etc. According to Mao’s propaganda, his dictatorship was successful through using the combination of various WOKs mentioned earlier. All of his propaganda posters, such as a poster with him smiling gently and expressing his emotional expression, was effective in giving positive portrayal. This is because it convinced citizens through visual sense to interpret him as a benevolent person.
Simultaneously, captions on the posters also affected citizens’ interpretation through WOK of language. Mao made sure that citizens revolved in a fixed environment where they can only pursue one perspective, which avoided other contrasting views. The implication from this is that the high acceptance of people may determine the quality of knowledge in terms of the value and its significance. However, it does not necessarily justify its quality in terms of factuality. However, the high acceptance of people may determine the quality of knowledge in Human Science. In recent society, an organization that involves a large population such as political voting is thought to be significantly important in making decisions. Based on my personal experience, there are many circumstances that involve citizens to determine quality. For instance, there are many singing audition programs that require the audience to pick the best singer. Oftentimes an individual person finds his/her predictions similar to the actual result.
This may indicate that they use the basic vocal standards as their shared knowledge to asses or vote who sang better. Although possible biases might include in processes of determining the result due to the effect of differing personal knowledge, if the majority voted the same singer, this builds the confidence that the result is likely to be true and accurate. It can be a natural behavior for human beings to feel more confident when their ideas are the same as the majority of the population. Therefore, this personal experience contradicts the previous claim that the number of acceptances may be valid in determining the quality of singing skills. Looking into the Natural Science, quality of knowledge is greatly dependent on a large amount of people’s acceptance. For example, based on the discipline of biology, every student is required to learn the Cell Theory from the Cell biology unit.
With the WOK of reason, the Cell Theory has been proven with evidence by many scientists through diverse experiments and different methods. Just like the other disciplines in Natural Science such as Chemistry and Physics, students study theories that are mostly objective, which their answers are almost fixed that they are either correct or incorrect. From this, it suggests that WOK of reason does not involve emotion and faith, which means the certainty is achieved with abundant evidence and proofs. This indicates that Natural Science can reduce the level of bias by eliminating all the possible incorrect answers. Scientists use their scientific knowledge to assess whether the theory is actually accurate. Therefore, the more scientists they accept the report, the more likely that the report is valid. However, in order to make sure that scientists all agree on the report’s overall quality, they must follow the universal criteria. Therefore, reason could be the most reliable WOK to assess the quality of the knowledge by using the methods of inductive and deductive reasoning.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that Natural Science may reduce subjective bias, it may still have some uncertainty in determining the quality of knowledge. Some examples of debunked theories may contradict the justification mentioned in the previous paragraph. Based on the real-life situation of Galen, the most famous physician during the 1500s, he published pieces of research that were valued significantly (Home). One of his theories, the circulation theory in the heart, was thought to be true for a period until it was debunked by the biologist William Harvey (bio ninja). Besides this, there are many other theories that were used to be proven but debunked later on. The cause of these circumstances could relate to WOK of memory. Typically, when scientists peer review one’s research, they would tend to use inductive reasoning to double check whether the theory is accurate. While they peer review, they will also observe that person’s ability of producing the quality of preciseness. Similarly, after several observations of Galen’s work, it is possible that people have assumed Galen’s research as “justified” prior to peer review.
This is due to their past memories and observations that affected them to assume the conclusion before actually knowing the truth. This demonstrates that people can easily generalize the conclusion based on their memories that are interpreted through observation towards a particular object. This may lead to have overestimation and hinder people to use inductive reasoning when peer reviewing a research paper by a very known scientist. In addition, some scientist may determine the validity of the knowledge by using WOK of language. According to personal experience and memories, many people have a stereotype that the more the formal language written in the report, the more likely that they will assume its high validity. In spite of that, there are many education programs that explain in informal language but are scientifically correct such as BrainPOP. Referring back to the prescribed title, the reliability of reason can be interfered by other WOK, which leads to obstruct certain limitation towards assessing the quality of a report.
The discussions cover the answer for the knowledge question: to what extent does the quantity of acceptance determine accuracy through faith and reason? In Human Science, the number of acceptances are significantly effective in assessing the value through faith but may be limited in justifying in an objective view. In Natural Science, the reason is thought to be a heavily dependent tool when assessing the validity, but it is possible to implicitly impede certainties by various factors such as memory. Therefore, the answer to the knowledge claim is true for both areas of knowledge. At the same time, there is always contrasting views from looking at different angles. Thus, I would like to agree with reservations.